Apple Mac desktops, portables top PC Magazine’s 2005 Reader Satisfaction survey

According to PC Magazine’s 18th annual Reader Satisfaction Survey (, on newsstands September 6, 2005, more people are turning to the Web to solve problems with their PCs and printers, and beginning to turn away from phone support. Despite this shift, computer users are happier with their PCs and manufacturers support services overall than they were a year ago, though there’s still room for improvement.

Ziff Davis Media’s PC Magazine surveyed nearly 14,000 subscribers — technology influencers, consumers and business professionals — and asked them to describe their experiences with the desktops, notebooks, and printers that they use. They rated over 26,000 PCs and over 19,000 printers, including products used in the home and at work. Readers were asked to evaluate the following categories in the satisfaction survey: overall satisfaction, product reliability, quality and frequency of repairs, initial setup experience, hardware and software reliability and technical support including tech support professional’s ability to communicate and understand the problem.

“It’s good to see companies offering better online support, but there’s clearly room for improvement in phone-based support,” says Michael J. Miller, Editor-in-Chief of PC Magazine in the press release. “In particular, many readers complained about technicians who were hard to understand, or who didn’t seem to understand the problem.”

According to the survey, overall satisfaction with desktops and notebooks — as well as satisfaction with their reliability is very good but people are less satisfied with the quality of technical support and repair services of PC manufacturers.

PC owners are increasingly turning away from the phone and toward the Internet for tech support. This year, 69% of computer users used the telephone for tech support, down significantly versus a year ago, at 80%, This year, computer users are using the Web for support, including online FAQs, knowledge bases, download centers, 30% of the time; a year ago people they only used Web support 18% of the time.

While nearly all the vendors in the survey received overall ratings from customers in the “very good” range, four companies — Apple, Dell, Sony and survey newcomer Alienware — scored the highest, winning the coveted PC Magazine Readers’ Choice Award. Apple received the overall highest satisfaction rating due, in part, to its integration of its computer systems and the fact that Macs attract far fewer viruses than Windows machines. Among the major manufacturers of Windows PCs, Dell’s desktops received its 14th PC Magazine Readers’ Choice Award in 15 years, showing improvement in tech support versus year ago. Sony earned impressive satisfaction rates for desktops and newcomer Alienware scored an impressive overall rating of 8.8 for their cutting-edge, gaming machines.

MacDailyNews Note: Apple Macs running Mac OS X do attract far fewer viruses than Windows machines: zero (0) viruses to date, in fact.

Apple and Lenovo/IBM scored the highest among notebook users in the notebook category — earning them a PC Magazine Readers’ Choice Award. Apple users gave the company an 8.6 rating for satisfaction with tech support and 8.3 for satisfaction with repairs, both very impressive results. Lenovo/IBM scored well in reliability, better than average (8.5) and performed well in both the business and home market.

The 18th annual reader satisfaction survey covers desktop PCs, notebooks and printers. The survey gauges the satisfaction on a variety of measures including reliability and service experiences with the products PC Magazine subscribers are using and the companies who make these products. PC Magazine conducted the survey from June 14, 2005 to June 28, 2005. Subscribers to PC Magazine and were invited through by email and through a link posted in the magazine. PC Magazine accepted only one entry per subscriber and only subscribers could participate. Equation Research ( hosted the survey and tabulated the results. PC Magazine asked respondents about the desktop, notebooks and printers that they currently using at work and home.

PC Magazine excluded any company for which they did not receive at least 50 responses, the minimum number necessary to produce statistically reliable results. Only PCs less than four years old were considered. Each company’s scores for each question were compared against the average of all the companies’ scores in the same product category. The result is characterized as better or worse than average, or significantly better or worse than average, based on the statistical testing of the responses to a 95% confidence level.

Full article here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Apple Computer products top PC Magazine’s annual ‘Best of the Year’ survey – December 16, 2004
Apple Macs top PC Magazine’s ’17th Annual Reader Satisfaction Survey’ – August 10, 2004
Apple leads PC Magazine’s 16th annual Service and Reliability Survey – July 10, 2003


  1. All the more interesting because, “Ziff Davis Media’s PC Magazine surveyed nearly 14,000 subscribers”. I would suspect that there is a smaller pecentage of Macintosh users who are subscribers to PC Magazine than are Windows users.

    I would also suspect that most PC Magazine subscribers who are Mac owners are also Windows users/owners. These dual platform users rating Apple higher than all the Windows box companies makes this all the more striking.

    Also since (as I suspect) most Mac owners who voted in this poll are dual platform, I doubt that it is the rabid Mac fan base that has skewed the results. Most likely only a small fraction of the rabid Mac fan base subscribes to PC Magazine.

  2. Yes products that work are the way to go: I love the last line in the Apple section of the article:
    “Apple does walk a thin line with its support, though, offering perhaps the stingiest terms of any of the vendors in our survey. If customers do call Apple for technical support, they’re more likely to pay an extra fee. While some vendors offer a lifetime of toll-free telephone support, Apple’s standard warranty affords only 90 days. The warranty protects against breakdown for only a year, and Apple fails to offer on-site service.

    That’s right: The company will not send someone to your home or office to repair your system. Your best option is to carry your system to one of the more than 100 Apple stores spread across the country.

    Still, while we appreciate generous support and repair policies, it’s even better to offer top quality products and services, as Apple has done.”

  3. “I think the only real thing PC Magazine actually discovered here is that there are precisely the same number of OS X viruses as there are Windows fanatics….zero….”

    Nope, not true, I have met quite a few of them at my favorite S & M hangout. They are easy to spot as they all carry a blue paddle… a pretty sick bunch of souls from what I’ve witnessed.


    PC Magazine doesn’t believe in their own survey.

    What part of Random sample dont you understand, PC Mag.. are you worried that you just hit on the 19 mac users who love their gear?

  5. I thought this quote was even more interesting: “For Apple, in both the desktop and notebook sections of the survey, every single score is significantly better than the industry average for Windows machines. No exceptions.”

  6. Hmmm, I’m the only guy in the company using Apple. Everyday, yes, EVERYDAY I see my IT guy busy fixing up my collegues’PC here and there. The Window systems need attention everyday. As for me, the only time I need him to touch my Mac is to get him check my network setup. That’s it, no more.

    PC = Problematic. Needs a full time IT guy to check everyday.

    Mac = Reliable. Problems? Nay!

  7. I wonder why the venerable didn’t do a whole article about this story. They are “The original Mac news and information site since 1994” after all, and this is newsworthy.

    I guess it’s because they are too busy flooding the Mac community with quality issues reports and bugs in Apple products, and biased online polls. I’m not denying that these issues exist, but MacinTouch as reach a point where they should be renamed “MacFixIt 2”, and stop calling themselves a Mac news site. If you only looked at Macintouch over the last year or two, you would think that Apple is the worst of the industry, yet, this PC magazine survey shows that it’s not true.

    Ok enough MacinTouch bashing ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” /> I used to love them, I guess that’s what makes me angry.

  8. I liked the CARS take on this

    Quoted from
    The company’s scores are so high there’s some concern that they can’t be completely trusted: that Apple users are so passionate — almost fanatic — about the company and its products, they’re not quite as objective as other computer owners.
    Editor-in-Chief Michael J. Miller said “Clearly, the extent to which Apple customers like their computers makes them unreliable in judging how much they like their computers.”

  9. i’d say the tech support is pretty good the only time i’ve actually had a problem is with my mum’s imac and that was soon noticed to have a hardware problem and had to be taken away to be fixed (without wiping any data of it i might add)

    and once i decided to call em up to ask about a particular process that was setting off little snitch but that was because i was quite bored

    both times service was excellent with the latter going into overtime (passed when the phone line was actually closed and i think i was actually called back later on that evening)

    so yes i rate their tech support very highly since i’ve only ever had to use it twice

  10. SunSeeker, I guess that part of it is true, but at the same time, Mac users can be the most vocal about even little mistakes Apple does. Mac users expect perfection from Apple, even more so at the price they pay…

    And since when CARS is a news site? This article was a joke, what’s funny is that many Mac-haters are in denial over this PC magazine surveys, and use the same arguments than in that joke article.

    I think that if you factor out the few Mac users that are too forgiving to Apple, they would still be number one in consumer satisfaction. Why is it so hard to believe? There is no DellFixit website, but if there was one I bet that the issues reported there would be much worse than the ones Apple has.

    Apple is under a magnifying glass and has a closely knit community, with much more centralized sites, with MacSurfer being the entry point. So any issues they can have get blown out of proportion, compared to the same happening to competitors. In reality, as the survey says, they are not worse, but better than competitors.

  11. all you lucky people in the states – wish apple service was as good over here in asia. nothing but grief… even for ibooks that have a known issue (logic board): not a single replacement unit in stock. every hardware problem means waiting for spare parts to arrive. apple says “well, it is not us running the repair shop but an asp (apple service provider)”… no help at all from local apple office; calls are not returned. at least not until one has complained to the organization that is supposed to look after the local apple operation. great product, great os – but the service sucks big time. i used to love apple and its products – now i merely buy because there is a lack of alternatives… 🙁

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